Select Page

Life begins with a spark – literally.

Researchers at Northwestern University have documented the striking event in a new video that accompanies a study published this week.

At the moment of conception, the egg releases massive amounts of zinc, which creates a spark that can be seen with the aid of a microscope.

“It was remarkable,” said Teresa Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University’s medical school. “To see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking.”

The research team had noted the zinc sparks before in mice eggs but had never observed the process in human beings.

“All of biology starts at the time of fertilization,” Woodruff said, “yet we know next to nothing about the events that occur in the human.”

One of the researchers, Northwestern chemistry professor Thomas O’Halloran, explained the science behind the process in 2014.

“The egg first has to stockpile zinc and then must release some of the zinc to successfully navigate maturation, fertilization and the start of embryogenesis,” he said. “On cue, at the time of fertilization, we see the egg release thousands of packages, each dumping a million zinc atoms, and then it’s quiet.”

“Each egg has four or five of these periodic sparks,” O’Halloran said. “It is beautiful to see, orchestrated much like a symphony.”

Since the amount of zinc in an egg correlates with successful implantation and birth, the Northwestern researchers are highlighting that their research may be used to assist in vitro fertilization.

But that raises concerns given the grave moral issues with IVF, which involves creating numerous embryos that are either killed or frozen. Moral theologians also emphasize that IVF is an injustice even for the children who are born as a result, as they are created in a lab rather than in the union of man and woman.

The study may have far-reaching consequences the research team did not intend, such as strengthening public belief in the longstanding scientific consensus that life begins at the moment of conception/fertilization.

Many of those who saw the Northwestern video said it testifies to the beauty of life and the shallow lies that buttress the argument of abortion-on-demand.

“I saw this, and I was blown away by it,” said Rush Limbaugh on his nationally syndicated radio program Thursday afternoon. “For anybody in the mainstream media to openly admit that life begins at conception” defies arguments that an unborn child is only “tissue mass.”

Researchers released a separate video of the zinc spark taking place in a mammalian egg more than a year ago:

The paper [Abstract below], which is entitled “The Zinc Spark is an Inorganic Signature of Human Egg Activation,” was published by Scientific Reports on April 26.
[Ben Johnson, CHICAGO, April 29, 2016, ]


Amazing Video Shows Bright Flash of Light When Sperm Meets Egg and Human Life Begins
An amazing new discovery is bringing more attention to the fact that human life begins at the moment of fertilization.

However, it could be used to estimate whether the future health and quality of the individual would make it ‘worth living’.

Video at:

Full article:
Amazing Video Shows Bright Flash of Light When Sperm Meets Egg and Human Life Begins

An amazing new discovery is bringing more attention to the fact that human life begins at the moment of fertilization.

Scientists at Northwestern University in Chicago said they witnessed for the first time what happens at the moment when a new human life begins – a burst of zinc fireworks.

The Telegraph reports the scientists released a video with their research that shows the stunning discovery.

The video shows a flash of light occurring at the moment when a human sperm joins with an egg to form a unique new human life, according to the study. The flash comes from zinc that sparks as the sperm and egg meet – an observation that scientists have witnessed with the conception of other animals in the past, according to the report.

“We discovered the zinc spark just five years ago in the mouse, and to see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking,” said Dr. Teresa Woodruff, a professor at Northwestern. “It was remarkable.”

The report explains more about the science behind the discovery:

The bright flash occurs because when sperm enters and egg it triggers calcium to increase which releases zinc from the egg. As the zinc shoots out, it binds to small molecules which emit a fluorescence which can be picked up by camera microscopes.

Over the last six years this team has shown that zinc controls the decision to grow and change into a completely new genetic organism.

In the experiment, scientists use sperm enzyme rather than actual sperm to show what happens at the moment of conception.

“These fluorescence microscopy studies establish that the zinc spark occurs in human egg biology, and that can be observed outside of the cell,” said Professor Tom O’Halloran, a co-senior author.

In a companion paper published in Scientific Reports on March 18, a zinc spark is shown at the precise time a sperm enters a mouse egg.

This discovery was made by [Nan] Zhang, a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern. Little is known about the events that occur at the time of fertilization, because it is difficult to capture the precise time of sperm entry.

But there is an ethically troubling side to the amazing discovery.

Scientists said the intensity of the flash appears to indicate the egg’s quality and the embryo’s future health, and the finding could help doctors choose good eggs and embryos for in vitro fertilization. Though very young, embryos used for IVF are living human beings.

Pre-selecting embryos could mean some human lives will be destroyed and never given the chance to live.

Dr. Eve Feinberg, who co-authored the study, said doctors currently do not have the tools to determine the quality of a human egg for IVF.

“Often we don’t know whether the egg or embryo is truly viable until we see if a pregnancy ensues,” Feinberg said on Northwestern’s website. “That’s the reason this is so transformative. If we have the ability up front to see what is a good egg and what’s not, it will help us know which embryo to transfer, avoid a lot of heartache and achieve pregnancy much more quickly.”

Francesca Duncan, first author of the study, said the research could lead to a better understanding about the quality of human eggs – a big unknown in reproductive medicine.

The research study was published in the 18 March 2016 & 26 April 2016 issues of Scientific Report — ***see Abstracts below.
[Micaiah Bilger, Apr 26, 2016, Washington, DC; ]


***26 April 2016
The zinc spark is an inorganic signature of human egg activation
Egg activation refers to events required for transition of a gamete into an embryo, including establishment of the polyspermy block, completion of meiosis, entry into mitosis, selective recruitment and degradation of maternal mRNA, and pronuclear development. Here we show that zinc fluxes accompany human egg activation. We monitored calcium and zinc dynamics in individual human eggs using selective fluorophores following activation with calcium-ionomycin, ionomycin, or hPLC? cRNA microinjection.

These egg activation methods, as expected, induced rises in intracellular calcium levels and also triggered the coordinated release of zinc into the extracellular space in a prominent “zinc spark.” The ability of the gamete to mount a zinc spark response was meiotic-stage dependent. Moreover, chelation of intracellular zinc alone was sufficient to induce cell cycle resumption and transition of a meiotic cell into a mitotic one.

Together, these results demonstrate critical functions for zinc dynamics and establish the zinc spark as an extracellular marker of early human development.
Francesca E. Duncan, Emily L. Que[…]Teresa K. Woodruff Scientific Reports 6, 24737

18 March 2016
The fertilization-induced zinc spark is a novel biomarker of mouse embryo quality and early development
Upon activation, mammalian eggs release billions of zinc ions in an exocytotic event termed the “zinc spark.”

The zinc spark is dependent on and occurs coordinately with intracellular calcium transients, which are tightly associated with embryonic development. Thus, we hypothesized that the zinc spark represents an early extracellular physicochemical marker of the developmental potential of the zygote.

To test this hypothesis, we monitored zinc exocytosis in individual mouse eggs following parthenogenetic activation or in vitro fertilization (IVF) and tracked their development.

Retrospective analysis of zinc spark profiles revealed that parthenotes and zygotes that developed into blastocysts released more zinc than those that failed to develop. Prospective selection of embryos based on their zinc spark profile significantly improved developmental outcomes and more than doubled the percentage of embryos that reached the blastocyst stage.

Moreover, the zinc spark profile was also associated with embryo quality as the total cell number in the resulting morulae and blastocysts positively correlated with the zinc spark amplitude (R?=?0.9209). Zinc sparks can thus serve as an early biomarker of zygote quality in mouse model.
[Nan Zhang, Francesca E. Duncan[…]Teresa K. Woodruff Scientific Reports 6, 22772]
RELATED: Potential Wider Window to the Womb
Ultrasound has opened a window to the womb for developing babies, but cannot provide visuals as far back as the embryonic state, when many have difficulty accepting the humanity of the unborn child.

DNA phenotyping is an emerging technology being used by some U.S. and international law enforcement agencies to build visual models of suspects and unidentified victims using adult DNA samples.

According to some, if adult DNA can lead to a sketch of a person’s face, safely obtained gestational DNA might be used to sketch the future face of an unborn child.

Others caution that DNA phenotyping could cause some parents to reject their child because of an unwanted expected future appearance, which could lead to further treatment of children as a consumer designer product.
[April-May 2016, Cincinnati Right to Life Ed. Fdn. Inc. News Brief]